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5 Tips for Getting Your Staff Trained on a New EHR

Perhaps, one of the most challenging aspects of implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is getting your staff on board. Without proper training and education, it can be daunting for healthcare professionals and other staff to walk through the system. Providing general training wouldn’t work for all; in fact the intensity of training you provide should be specific and personalized for each user role and skill level. For instance, some employees might need extra support with the usage of the application, whereas, others may require less support and only need to get accustomed with the procedures they’ll need to perform on a daily basis rather than having complete knowledge of the EHR. Addressing these gaps can avoid setbacks and other frustrations that employees might encounter in real-time. Ensuring every employee is comfortable will facilitate a seamless transition to a new EHR system.

Without appropriate training, the EHR implementation can result in more challenges than benefits to your organization. But this doesn’t need to be the case if you take a few strategic steps to achieve a smooth transition for staff to an EHR system. Here are five proven strategies that help ensure a successful transition.

Understanding your Staff Tech-savvy Skills is Important

Assessing your staff’s ability to adapt to the new software solutions is important. Training your staff would be of no use if they are unable to grasp the material during application training. You have to understand different learning styles so that your training can be tailored for those with little to no technical background. Some employees might be able to use the system right after the training, while others need some time to understand and practice prior to going live. Make sure to identify staff that may need some additional time for training and allow time for staff to be adequately prepared so each user understands the application thoroughly.

Role-based Training is Ideal

Overtraining employees on the complete functionality of the EHR is a big mistake that most practices make. This will not only affect the implementation process, but hinders staff’s ability to retain necessary information. Grouping your employees based on their roles and providing customized training they’ll need to carry out their core responsibilities can help figure out how the system will impact their workflow. Taking this approach will not only cut down learning time, but also maximizes training efficiency while minimizing complexity.

Schedule Several Short Training Sessions

As much as you probably want to dedicate only one day to train all of your staff, it is best to spread training out over the course of a few days to avoid information overload. Allow up to an hour for training, but plan on scheduling multiple one hour sessions. A training period over one hour could cause staff to lose focus and not retain the information as well. The result? Implementation will be a struggle and the practice workflow will slow down. Providing training under an hour will keep the staff more engaged and ensure a much smoother transition. If more training is required after an hour, scheduling another training session for about an hour would be ideal.

Have a Team of Super Users

Super users are the only persons who have to learn the application intensively. There should be a few staff members designated to provide end-users with additional clarification of workflows and the usage. They should be well-versed of using the application and be able to address any concern that their peers may encounter in real-time. Super users should assist users facing difficulties following along and should be able to provide comprehensive support anytime. The super users should also be a primary point of contact for your EHR vendor regarding any changes and upgrades that may affect the practice and schedule additional training.

Communication is a Must

Pre Training and Implementation

A key component for managing staff during this period of change is to clearly communicate with staff about what to expect during the implementation of the EHR. You will need to make sure that the change is clearly communicated including:

- What processes may change
- What processes will remain the same
- What staff will need to give up or stop doing
- Who is assigned as a leader for the transition
- What the timeline looks like for the implementation

Expectations need to be communicated clearly and staff should be encouraged to bring up their concerns privately to the assigned leader during transition. While some staff may express resistance to change, this will prepare everyone for what is coming; ensure that all concerns are heard and any issues that could cause a delay in adoption can be addressed.

Post Training and Implementation

Employee Feedback and Engagement is Must. Training doesn’t end with implementation. Once your practice starts using the system, it is inevitable you’ll face few concerns - whether it is adding a custom set-up option, additional training, or a workflow process to be redesigned.

The only way to fix these issues before they become a big problem for the overall efficiency of your practice is by conducting post-implementation feedback sessions. Schedule regular feedback sessions and ask different users how they are handling the changes, whether they are facing any difficulties or if there are any areas that need improvement. Be sure to identify areas of concerns and communicate with your EHR implementation and training team. The EHR implementation and training team may be able to consult on workflow issues or provide additional assistance to create a better user experience and help staff adapt to the new EHR system more easily.

Implementing an EHR system can bring a host of challenges, however, by following aforementioned strategies you can eliminate many of the common headaches many practices experience. Employing a targeted approach will help get your staff onboard quickly and allows you to focus on what matters most-quality healthcare.